The Koforidua Technical University (KTU) has instituted a policy to annually reward students who come up with innovative and marketable ideas.
This was announced by the Vice-Chancellor of KTU, Professor David Essumang at the launching of the KTU Institutional Intellectual Property (IP) Policy Pilot Project at Koforidua.
The Institutional IP Policy Pilot Project is to help KTU to develop IP policy which would enable the university to develop a framework for identifying research work of students and lecturers that need to be registered under the IP law and how to apply the new ideas for the benefit of society, the researchers and the university.
Responding to questions from the media, Prof Essumang said, work that qualify for registration as IP are not only those complicated discoveries but also simple discoveries or improvement of existing tools and equipment at workshops and institutions that help to improve upon the lives of people and society including literary work and public speeches.
Professor Tom Ogada, an IP Consultant from Kenya, said the essence of IP policy in the university is to help identify IP in the research work of the students and staff of the university.
He said the public is investing money into research and the results of research should be able to have an economic impact on the society.
He said the importance of IP is to create an environment so that the researcher and the university could share in the economic impact of their work on the society.
Prof Ogada called on KYTU to establish a strong IP unit and train the staff of the unit to help the researchers, students and the university community to benefit from their efforts.
He said where the research is being funded by the private sector or the university, the memorandum of understanding should state clearly who contributes what and how the benefits would be shared among the players in the project.
Mrs Loretta Asiedu, Senior Counsellor, Regional Bureau for Africa Development Sector of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), said KTU is among the five universities selected in Africa to participate in the pilot project out of the 46 institutions that applied for consideration.
She said institutional IP policy in Africa Universities is low and so in Ghana, the universities have been classified into three groups to be supported with guidelines of WIPO to develop strong IP policies for their institutions.
Mrs Asiedu said the essence is to support the institutions to develop infrastructure that would help identify and commercialize the IP.
Dr Frank Agyen Dwomoh of the KTU IP Committee said to implement the KTU IP policy, the university needs to build a good and well-trained IP unit and the students and staff need to be well informed about the IP policy of the university.
He proposed that the IP policy of the university should be made accessible online and be put in the students handbook.
He called for more efforts to be made to raise the awareness of the university society about the IP policy of the institution.